An AIA review of New Age Bible Versions
Copyright 1994 by Bob and Gretchen Passantino.
This article first appeared in Cornerstone Magazine
(G. A. Riplinger. New Age Bible Versions: An Exhaustive Documentation
Exposing the Message, Men and Manuscripts Moving Mankind to the Antichrist's
One World Religion. P.O. Box 388, Monroe Falls, OH: A. V. Publications,
1993, $15.00, 690 pp.)
What if the Bibles we use pervert and obscure God's Word, and are actually
being used by Satan to seduce the Church into accepting the One World
Religion of the coming Antichrist? What if we couldn't trust our Bibles
to warn us of false doctrine, coming persecution, or heretics? What if we
couldn't depend on our Bibles to protect us from evil?
That's exactly the kind of paranoia and fear promoted in a new best-selling,
self-published book, New Age Bible Versions, by G. A. (Gail) Riplinger,
whose work has been endorsed by Jack T. Chick, Texe Marrs, and Dr. David
Hocking, who described the book as "a devastating argument to prove that the
old KJV still stands as the best English translation that's ever been
produced."  She claims her book has sold close to 40,000 copies and is
being translated into Norwegian and Korean. Riplinger says she has promoted
the book on 600 radio programs, including a week on the nationally
syndicated Southwest Radio Church. 
Riplinger and her promoters want you to believe you can't trust any English
translation but the King James Version, whose first edition appeared in 1611.
"Much digging in libraries and manuscripts from around the world
has uncovered an alliance between the new versions of the Bible
(NIV, NASB, Living Bible and others) and the chief conspirators
of the New Age movement's push for a One World Religion." 
There are dozens more similar statements throughout the book, ending with
"The harlots haunting the new cults, new age, new versions, 'new'
Christianity, and new One World Religion are like the five fingers on a
hand. Each varies in purpose, but Satan is waving the hand, moving the
fingers and 'reaching out' to choke the church."  It may seem belaboring
the point to present four quotes, but it is essential to note that this New
Age satanic conspiracy pervades the entire book. It is not possible to
endorse the King James Only thesis of this book without also endorsing the
New Age conspiracy idea. Every example Riplinger gives of new version
perversions is linked to this satanic New Age plot. She never simply
disagrees with a new version translation: she explains the disputed
translation portion as a part of the plot. The new version translators
can't simply be wrong, they are inextricably tied into occultism and/or New
Ageism and it's their occult orientation that compels their "wrong" text
development or translation.
"Since cults and New Agers like to lace their arsenic with scriptures,
the adulterated verses in new versions will no doubt find themselves
hip to hip with some strange and Godless philosophies. 'The One'
in the new versions will certainly be used to perpetuate the idea
that the Judeo-Christian God is the same as the god of the New World
"The New King James Version and the New American Standard Version
are in poor company rallying with, not only these two cults
[Jehovah's Witnesses and Worldwide Church of God], but the New
Gail Riplinger does not have any advanced degrees in Bible, theology,
linguistics, textual criticism, or any other academic subject related to the
subject of this book. She has not been associated with any well-known,
accepted counter cult organization or expert, nor has she had previous books
published on biblical issues. No reputable biblical scholar has endorsed
her thesis or her arguments. Riplinger has advanced degrees in Industrial
and Environmental Design (a branch of what used to be called Home Economics)
and taught Family and Consumer Studies and Retail Space Plans (Home
Economics) for a few years at Kent State University in Ohio. When she is
asked what facility she has in biblical languages, she says that as a school
girl she took Latin, and after graduation from high school, she worked as an
English tutor with Greek immigrants.  On a radio program she admitted
she could not read Greek or Hebrew. 
However, this lack of background, expertise, and education doesn't daunt
Riplinger. She explains why she has such confidence in her arguments --
God gave them to her! In an article she wrote called "Why I Wrote the Book:
New Age Bible Versions"  she declares, "Each discovery was not the
result of effort on my part, but of the direct hand of God -- so much so
that I hesitated to even put my name on the book. Consequently, I used
G. A. Riplinger, which signifies to me, God and Riplinger -- God as author
and Riplinger as secretary . . . . " Although she has echoed this
affirmation numerous times since in personal interviews and on radio
programs, her book is actually erroneous, sensationalistic,
misrepresentative, inaccurate, and logically indefensible. Her writing is
ponderous; her graphs and charts are misleading; her reasoning is
contradictory and convoluted; and her paragraphs are peppered with inept
alliteration and mismatched meter.
This is not the forum for a lengthy discussion of textual transmission or
textual criticism. The controversy Riplinger has entered is a complex one
which too often combines scholarship with paranoid sensationalism. The
following short summary provides background for evaluating Riplinger's
There are thousands of hand copied manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of
the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament. Some Old Testament
portions date before the time of Christ, and New Testament fragments have
been found which date to within a short time after the originals were
composed in the first century. Because every text had to be hand copied
until the invention of the printing press at the end of the fifteenth
century, and because manuscript copying tended to stay in particular areas,
recognizable kinds of mistakes and modifications crept into manuscript
groups very early. Most differences in manuscripts involved misspellings,
local variations (analogous to the differences between British and American
English), and other inconsequential differences.
As Latin became the predominant Church language in the Western Church, the
number of Greek manuscripts decreased. In the Eastern Church, where Greek
continued to be the language of the people, more Greek manuscripts were
produced, but these later manuscripts tended to absorb some of the later
Greek usages and repeated some earlier transcription mistakes.
Consequently, while the majority of our Greek manuscripts come from the
Byzantine manuscript family, many of them are from the Middle Ages and few
remain from the earliest centuries. The standard text prepared from this
family is called the "Majority Text." On the other hand, western
manuscripts (such as the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus) are very ancient,
but we have fewer copies to compare and so it is sometimes more difficult
to determine the original readings of some passages. The most well known
text "family" that is not Eastern is the Alexandrian.
When the King James Version was prepared in 1611, it relied on a Greek text
prepared less than 100 years earlier by a Roman Catholic cleric, Erasmus,
from a little more than a dozen late Byzantine manuscripts. Erasmus' text,
after several more revisions, became known as the "Textus Receptus," or, as
its printers immodestly christened it, the text received or accepted by the
people at large. Erasmus' earlier editions, as well as the Textus Receptus
represent manuscripts from the Byzantine text type, represented today in the
With the development of archaeology in the nineteenth century, many more
manuscripts and manuscript portions were found, and some were dated
extremely early. The two premier textual scholars of the late 1800s, B. F.
Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, prepared a new Greek text based on these newly
found ancient manuscripts. This text, commonly called the "Westcott-Hort"
text, represents what they call the "neutral" text. In this century other
scholars have added knowledge from many more manuscript finds and the
critical texts used today, such as that from which the New International
Version was translated, seek to take the best readings from the best
manuscripts, whether they are older or more recent. Most contemporary
translations are prepared from a critical text. The New King James Version
relies on the King James Version (1769 edition), and thus the Majority Text
type or family, but disputed and unclear passages were modified with
reference to contemporary critical Greek texts.
Any contemporary translation that uses adequate and accurate translation
methods and depends on a reliable critical Greek text can be trusted to
accurately represent God's Word as it was originally given in the Old and
New Testaments.  The differences in meaning from one responsible
translation to another are insignificant. The critical Greek texts are
published by reputable publishers and are available to anyone. Those few
passages which differ from one text type to another are well-known and
usually noted in any study Bible edition of any reputable version. As
Dallas Seminary professor Daniel Wallace summarizes,
"If the quality of the text (i.e., its doctrinal purity) is not at
stake, then what about the quantity? How different is the Majority
Text from the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament or the
Nestle-Aland text? Do they agree only 30 percent of the time? Do
they agree perhaps as much as 50 percent of the time? This can be
measured, in a general sort of way. There are approximately 300,000
textual variants among New Testament manuscripts. The Majority Text
differs from the Textus Receptus in almost 2,000 places. So the
agreement is better than 99 percent. But the Majority Text differs
from the modern critical text in only about 6,500 places. In other
words the two texts agree almost 98 percent of the time. Not only
that, but the vast majority of these differences are so minor that
they neither show up in translation nor affect exegesis.
Consequently the majority text and modern critical texts are very
much alike, in both quality and quantity." 
So, while there are textual scholars who prefer the Majority Text, such as
the late Dr. Harry Sturz (The Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual
Criticism. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984) or Zane Hodges (and
A. L. Farstad, eds. The Greek New Testament According to the Majority
Text. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982). They would not support
Riplinger's outlandish claim that the King James Bible is God's only English
The Book: A Closer Look
Riplinger argues that all new translations and versions corrupt the
preserved translation of the King James Version, which she says is based on
the "true" Majority text, which she equates with the Textus Receptus. She
goes further than most KJV Only proponents in delineating specifically what
she means by the new versions being "satanically inspired" by attributing
the new versions to a satanically controlled, century-old conspiracy to
transform the Word of God to make it compatible to New Age theology, which
she believes is the end-time, one-world religion of the anti-Christ.
Although New Age Bible Versions is littered with quotes and footnotes,
most of the quotes are irrelevant, out of context, and/or unnecessary.
There are numerous charts, lists, comparisons, and pseudo-technological
reports, although they don't prove anything.
For example, chapter eleven argues that the King James Version is the
easiest version for children to learn based on a Grade Level Indicator
literacy test developed by the Flesch-Kincaid research company. Riplinger
reports that "The KJV ranks easier in 23 out of 26 comparisons." 
However, the majority of this testing involves the total number of
vocabulary words used and the percentage of multi-syllabic words used, not
the contemporary familiarity of the vocabulary. Riplinger admits this,
saying, "Why is the KJV easier to read? The KJV uses one or two syllable
words while new versions substitute complex multi-syllable words and
phrases."  Riplinger then presents a chart comparing words from various
verses between the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the King James
Version (KJV). However, her list reveals that there are some words in the
NASB that might be more complex or longer than the KJV, but which most
American children should have no trouble understanding.
Verse NASB KJV Our comment
Matt. 1:11, deportation carried What American hasn't
Matt. 1:17 away heard deportation in
regard to Haitians,
Cubans, and undocu-
Matt. 9:13 compassion mercy What American hasn't
Matt. 12:7 heard compassion
related to AIDS, and
yet wouldn't be
familiar with "mercy"
in our justice-
Luke 1:22 mute speechless What American
doesn't know what
"MUTE" on his
Other differences actually make the verse more accurate, educating the
reader who might be unfamiliar with first century Palestinian culture.
Verse NASB KJV Our Comment
Luke 5:29ff recline sat In those days, they
at table reclined on couches.
They didn't sit at the
Matt. 10:10 tunics coats They didn't wear
shaped blanket out-
Matt. 9:17 wineskins bottles They didn't use glass
bottles, they used
Perhaps the funniest misuse of charts is her "ACROSTIC ALGEBRA."  Simply
put, she analogizes between the contents of the versions and their letter
designations. She says to take the letters representing the New American
Standard Version (NASV) and New International Version (NIV) and the King
James Version, or Authorized Version (AV). If you eliminate the letters the
NASV and NIV have in common as representing the heresies the two versions
have in common (but leave the second N), and the letters they have in common
with the AV as representing the scattered truth in both versions used to
mislead people, you are left with the letters S-I-N -- an appropriate
designation for these New Age versions!
We couldn't believe she thought such a silly letter game had validity, but
she affirmed her faith in this method. She said God told her how to work
the system out!  When we asked her why she had to use the abbreviation
for the Authorized Version (AV) instead of the King James Version (KJV) in
this place only, she repeated that God told her to. After all, she asked,
how could something so profound be only coincidence? Well, we decided to
try to duplicate her feat. We took the letters representing seven
versions (since seven is the perfect number of God), and went through the
same procedure without exception, and we able to develop a pseudo-argument
that the KJV is actually "Satan's" tool!
We used Cunard's Authorized (CA), King James II (KJ2), Hayman's Epistles
(HE), Revised English Bible (REB), New International Version (NIV), New
American Standard Bible (NASB), and Barclay's New Testament (BNT). When you
contrast these seven versions with the KJV you get this:
(CA - KJ2 - HE - REB - NIV - NASB - BNT) - (KJV)
When you omit all of the letters they have in common, you're left with a
(C K J H R I V S T) - (KJV)
When you omit the letters they have in common with the KJV, you're left with
the profound proclamation:
C H R I S T
Using Riplinger's "ACROSTIC ALGEBRA" logic, these new versions must be from
God! This illustrates the ridiculous nature of Riplinger's argumentation.
Obviously, neither math trick has anything to do with accurate discernment
of translation purity!
Riplinger seems to be a master at non-sensical arguments. In addition to
her Acrostic Algebra and many other silly arguments, she even speculates
that the sounds of different letters provide clues to the New Age
conspiracy. At one point she discusses the difference between a Greek word
in the Majority Text compared to the Greek word in the same passage in
another Greek text. She says the two words differ only by the addition of
an "s" on the end of the Westcott-Hort text.  She concludes, "Watch out
for the letter 's' -- sin, Satan, Sodom, Saul (had to be changed to Paul).
The added 's' here is the hiss of the serpent."  Aside from the fact
that "s" sounds and words have nothing to do with the integrity of the text,
what would Riplinger do with good "s" words such as salvation, Savior,
sacred, sacrifice, sabbath, Samuel, sanctification, scripture, servant, and
Repeatedly Riplinger quotes scholars out of context to support her
conspiracy theories. For example, she accuses the New International Version
(NIV) of trying to hide the deity of Christ in scripture, and declares that
NIV Translation Center Executive Director Kenneth Barker admits his lack of
faith in the deity of Christ. She quotes him saying, "'Few clear and
decisive texts say that Jesus is God.'" 
Barker actually is criticizing the King James Version for using a less
reliable textual tradition for John 1:18 which obscures a passage clearly
declaring the deity of Christ, which Barker believes is repeatedly assumed
in the Bible, but explicitly states infrequently:
"A striking case of where the KJV, following back Greek copies of
the original text, changed the original is John 1:18. The KJV
says, 'No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son,
which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.' John
1:18, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, is one of those few clear
and decisive texts that declare that Jesus is God. But, without
fault of its own, the KJV, following inferior manuscripts,
altered what the Holy Spirit said through John, calling Jesus
Riplinger grossly misrepresents Dr. Norman Geisler by yanking a quote out
of context to support her misapprehension that anyone who uses the term
"the Christ" is somehow a closet New Ager. She says, "Liberty University's
Dean Norman Geisler adds: 'We should be particularly wary when someone
refers to Jesus Christ as "the Christ" . . . '"  However, Geisler and
Amano actually said,
"We should be particularly wary when someone refers to Jesus Christ
as "the Christ spirit" or "Christ-consciousness." 
In fact, the King James Version uses "the Christ" in numerous passages,
including John 1:41, John 20:31, 1 John 5:1, and 1 John 2:22. Her argument
is nonsense. Almost every single quotation she makes is out of context
and/or misrepresents the author(s).
New Age Bible Versions repeatedly maligns trustworthy Greek and New
Testament scholars, accusing them of occultism, homosexuality, and New
Ageism. Only a couple of examples can be given here. During an early 1994
radio debate with counter-cult apologist James White in Arizona, Riplinger
accused the NIV of being "soft" on homosexuality by translating
anti-homosexuality passages with euphemistic terminology that obscured the
evils of homosexuality. She said the reason for this was that some of the
NIV translators were homosexuals themselves. Here is the response given by
Dr. Kenneth Barker, Executive Director of the NIV translation center:
"These charges have no basis in fact. Thus they are simply untrue.
And those who make such false charges could be legitimately sued
for libel, slander, and defamation of character.
No New Testament scholar is more maligned by Riplinger than Dr. B. F.
Westcott, who produced the Westcott-Hort Greek text which became the most
comprehensive Greek text of this century until new critical texts were
prepared which reflected manuscript finds and linguistic developments of the
last half of this century.
Here are the facts. It is true that in the earliest stages of
translation work on the NIV (in the late 1960s), Virginia
Mollenkott was consulted briefly and only in a minor way on matters
of English style. At that time she had the reputation of being a
committed evangelical Christian with expertise in contemporary
English idiom and usage. Nothing was known of her lesbian views.
Those did not begin to surface until years later in some of her
writings. If we had known in the sixties what became public
knowledge only years later, we would not have consulted her at all.
But is must be stressed that she did not influence the NIV
translators and editors in any of their final decisions. . . .
Homosexual and lesbian practices are condemned just as clearly and
strongly in the NIV as in any other English version. See the NIV
renderings in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27;
1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10; Jude 7." 
Riplinger repeatedly accuses Westcott of promoting and participating in
occultism. She claims that Westcott (and Hort) were active in the occult
community of late nineteenth century London, and ties him to Theosophical
founder Blavatsky through what she claims was their common reading material.
However, a careful search of reliable resources on nineteenth century
English occultism fails to turn up any association of Westcott with
occultism. What is Riplinger's strongest "proof" that B. F. Westcott was
an occultist? It's buried at the end of her book, in footnote 128 of
chapter 30 (p. 676-677) where she recounts that Westcott's son and
biographer "points out that his father's signature was almost always read
as W., not B., preceding his last name." Aha! Now it makes a sort of
insane sense: William Wynn (W.W.) Westcott was a well-known London
occultist and coroner. This physician's life, however, was very well-known,
he occupied prominent positions in society, politics, and business in
London, and he certainly was not B. F. Westcott or B. F. Westcott
masquerading as a physician-coroner-occultist! Even Riplinger seems to
realize how far she's stretching it, as she ends her footnote, "The
connection between B. F. Westcott and the activities attributed to the
possible allonym W. W. Westcott are speculation on my part." Speculation
she may admit, but only in an obscure footnote at the end of the book,
after dozens and dozens of brazen text declarations that Westcott's overt
occultism destroyed any validity to his Greek text of the New Testament!
This is so misrepresentative that it is hard to imagine how she could have
libeled Westcott in ignorance.
There is hardly a page of this book that is free from error. Riplinger
does not know Greek, Hebrew, textual criticism, linguistics, principles
of translation, logical argumentation, proper citation and documentation
standards, competent English grammar and style, or even consistent spelling.
This book would never have done more than use Riplinger's savings and fill
up her garage if Christian "celebrities" such as Texe Marrs and David
Hocking had not promoted it. That Riplinger invested so much time, effort,
and misguided zeal into this disaster is regrettable. That Marrs promoted
it to his nationwide radio audience, that Hocking promoted it to almost 300
Calvary Chapel pastors, or that Jack Chick promoted it to his many thousands
of catalog recipients is reprehensible. These irresponsible celebrities
should remember James' warning: "let not many of you become teachers,
knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1 NKJV).
For Further Study
Accurate, non-sensational, well-documented information on textual criticism
and contemporary translations is available in books by reputable scholars.
The following four short books are clear, concise, and reliable: Kenneth L.
Barker, editor. The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation.
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986; David Alan Black.
New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide. Grand Rapids, MI:
Baker Book House, 1994; D. A. Carson. The King James Version Debate: A
Plea Realism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979; and Philip
Wesley Comfort. The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament.
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992.
- In an address at the Pastor's Conference sponsored by Calvery Chapel
of Costa Mesa, September 29, 1993 (Twin Peaks Conference Center.)
- Interview with Bob Passantino 1/12/94.
- Page 1.
- Page 95.
- Page 455.
- Page 614.
- Interview with Bob Passantino 1/12/94.
- Host Dr. H. Wayne House, May 1994.
- In The End Times and Victorious Living newspaper of the Paw Creek
Church and Media Ministry, January/February 1994 issue, pp. 1-15.
- Cultic translations such as the Jehovah's Witnesses New World
Translations do not follow these principles and perpetuate their
heretical doctrines through mistranslation.
- Daniel B. Wallace. "The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are
They Identical?" in Bibliotheca Sacra April-June 1991, pp. 157-158.
- Page 195.
- Page 196.
- Pages 149-150.
- Interview with Bob Passantino, 1/12/94.
- She never mentions that "s" is an English letter, and that, if
anything, the Greek letter would not be and "s" but a "sigma."
- Page 232.
- Page 2.
- Kenneth Barker, The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation,
- Page 318.
- J. Yutaka Amano and Norman L. Geisler. The Infiltration of the New
Age. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1991, p. 142.
- Copies of the complete public statement are available by writing
Dr. Barker, Ececutive Director, NIV Translation Center, P.O. Box
292307, Lewisville, TX 75029-2307. You may also request a copy
of the Center's statement on New Age Bible Versions and its
charges of NIV involvement in promoting the New Age Movement.